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    18 Secrets Massage Therapists Will Never Tell You

    No, we won't give you a hand job or a golden shower.

    Many thanks to the licensed massage therapists who told us allll about their profession: Noelle Nieva of The Brooklyn Body Shop in Brooklyn, New York; Elise Walton of Balanced Harmony Massage in Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Geraldine Villeneuve, author of Put Your Best Feet Forward.

    1. No, massages aren't just a luxury for the rich and famous.

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    Sure, a luxury spa might empty out your pockets, but it's also not impossible to find a decent licensed massage therapist for a reasonable rate. And once you do, you'll realize how necessary they actually are for your well-being. Sometimes, you just need a good massage to rid your body of the pain. Treat yo'self.

    You can start shopping around for local massage therapists here.

    2. It's cool to not know what you want or to know exactly what you want. Either way, communication is πŸ”‘ πŸ”‘ πŸ”‘.

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    Tell us exactly what you need work on and how much you want us to focus on that. Some people will come in expecting an overall massage with some extra time focusing on a single area, while others want us to focus on a specific area for the entire time. Likewise, let us know other things, like if the pressure hurts or if we can use more. Being clear with your needs throughout the session ensures you'll get the most out of your time on the table, so that you'll leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Don't be shy!

    3. Massage therapists know a shit ton about anatomy and physiology, and lots of different techniques.

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    It takes about two years to finish massage therapy school, and the requirements are different in each state. But no matter where you go, you'll learn about anatomy and physiology, and all the different massage techniques β€” from shiatsu/Thai and Swedish massages to deep tissue, hot stone, and reflexology massages. This training gives us a good base to work with before we decide which techniques we want to focus on, such as lymphatic drainage, craniosacral therapy, or sports massage. You can search specialties in this database if you're looking for someone specific, or if you're shopping around the internet, just be sure the therapist is licensed by the state.

    4. Massage therapists are usually really busy, so get to your appointment on time if you want to have the best experience.

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    We often have hectic schedules because we tend to book clients back-to-back, so if your appointment is at a certain time, get there at that time, because we're still going to finish working on you at the designated time. Coming in on time will guarantee a better experience, since we'll be able to go through the motions of a massage, like warming you up and cooling you down, without a time constraint.

    5. Sometimes boners happen mid-massage.

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    Hey, it happens, and we definitely notice it. We're sure clients notice it too. It's a natural and normal response to touch, but since our clients are there to relax and the lights are usually dim, chances are we're not going to say anything about it. Instead, we might just bunch up the sheets in the region to hide it, then keep working.

    6. No, you won't get a happy ending, so don't even think about it.πŸ™…

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    Hand jobs, blow jobs, golden showers...we don't do sexual favors. While there is such a thing as erotic massage, expecting this to happen can be insulting to your massage therapist. People who call us about that will be swiftly denied service, and if someone comes in and hints at something of that nature, their massage will end on the spot and they won't get a refund. It's a huge misconception that massage therapy is sexually oriented (that's a whole different profession).

    7. Wayyy too many people come in without showering beforehand, and it's the absolute WORST.

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    Hey, we're only human.Β We get grossed out too, even if we've seen a lot in the time that we've been giving massages. Since we're working in close proximity to you β€” touching you and smelling you β€” showering before your massage is just a nice thing to do. On that note, perfumes and other scents can be overwhelming to us too, so hold off on those till after the massage.

    8. Actually, just basic hygiene makes everything better.

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    Aside from BO invading our nostrils and not really wanting to massage a sweaty body, long toenails also scratch us on occasion. Lots of people also come in β€” especially in the summer when sandals/flip-flops are in β€” with dirt all over the bottoms of their feet or nice chunky toe jam. It's not fun to work with, and not every massage therapist will soak your feet in a bath beforehand.

    9. On the subject of feet, getting yours taken care of could actually change everything.

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    The feet are our foundation, but they're also very malleable β€” able to conform and adapt to the way we stand and the way we move. This can cause problems if we're always bearing weight on one part of the feet or wearing certain shoes, since your muscles will try to compensate. If these muscles' functions are thrown off for long enough, they can create a chain reaction in other muscles (and even organs) farther up the body. So if you have back pain, you might wanna get your feet taken care of at the same time,Β just in case.

    10. Your pores will open up during the massage, and all that gunk inside your body will (sort of) spill out.

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    This is particularly true if you drank alcohol the day before, if you smoke cigarettes, or if you take certain medications. Massages move around all the fluid surrounding tissue cells (interstitial fluids) and open up the pores, so whatever toxins you have in your body will be released through them. We won't feel it, but we can definitely smell it.

    11. Drinking water and doing something you enjoy afterward is the best way to keep the relaxation going.

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    You can do whatever you wanna do after a massage, whether that's going for a run or chillin' on the couch watching TV. The only thing we recommend is that you drink lots of water, since it'll help to keep that aforementioned detox going β€” you can also add lemon if that's your thing.

    12. Loud moaning and groaning is kind of awkward.

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    We're really happy when our clients enjoy the massage, and we know that they feel good, but loud moaning and groaning usually distracts us from what we're doing and it can make us feel uncomfortable.

    13. We see all kinds of bodies all day, so try not to feel too weird about getting undressed.

    There's nothing to be embarrassed about β€” we're professionals. Plus, if we're working on certain areas, your clothes will have to be out of the way if you want to get the best possible massage β€” it's kinda hard to do good work on your hips if we're constantly trying to move your underwear out of the way. So depending on what's getting massaged, get those clothes out of the way, or at least ask your massage therapist what's best. And also, you can keep certain stuff on if you're too uncomfortable bringing the full monty.

    14. And just to be sure, there are boundaries on your body we won't cross.

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    We want you to feel respected and safe with us so that you can relax and receive the therapy you need. So we set our own boundaries too, like never massaging breast tissue β€” on anyone β€” or going farther than about 2/3 of the way up the legs.

    15. Anyone can (and should) get a massage.

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    Got back pain? Get a massage. What about a sports injury? Massage it! Just got out of surgery? Lymphatic drainage might help. Literally anyone can use a massage here and there, and our clients range from the average Joe who plays sports to celebrities to people in the armed forces. Massages are great for recovery just as much as they are amazing for stress and emotional distress.

    16. If you have some kind of event coming up that involves physical activity, come to us a few days early.

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    We really work out your muscles when you're here. Seeing us a few days before your event β€” whether that's a basketball tournament or moving into a new home β€” will give them time to recover so that they're strong and READY for whatever comes their way.

    17. But if you just became ill, got injured, or are on medicine, you might want to get a doctor's referral first.

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    We don't want to make anything worse than it might already be, so if you've recently been injured, it's probably best to check with your doctor, because they'll know which stage of healing it's in. The same goes if you recently became ill or if you're on medications β€” massages can mildly affect how the liver and kidneys function, which can change how medications work. If your doc gives the OK, then we'll be ready for you.

    18. We're compassionate, service-oriented people who really just want to help others.

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    While each of us starts massage therapy for different reasons, one thing we all have in common is the desire to help people and improve their well-being. We really do put our hearts into our hands.